Skip to main content

5-month-old baby killed by airport baggage carousel in Spain

By Al Goodman, CNN
September 20, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • It's not clear how the baby ended up on the baggage carousel
  • The mother, an American, also had another young child with her
  • Authorities believe it was an accident but are investigating

Madrid (CNN) -- Spanish investigators are trying to figure out how a 5-month-old baby died on a baggage carousel at an airport in Alicante.

A spokeswoman for Spain's airport authority, AENA, said Thursday it's not clear how the baby ended up on the baggage belt for oversized luggage.

"The baby was on the baggage carousel, but could not have gotten there alone. Someone had to put the baby there. I don't know how the baby got there," said the airport spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified.

The infant's mother, an American woman, arrived at the airport late Wednesday on a flight from London's Gatwick airport with her baby and another young child, the spokeswoman said. The father, who is Canadian, was already there waiting at the Alicante airport, she added.

The baggage carousel is a flat, black rubber-type belt that moves only in one direction and is only activated when oversized bags are sent out on it for pickup. It's several feet long and passengers can stand on either side of it or at the receiving end, the spokeswoman said.

She said it was not immediately known if the infant was placed on the belt while it was stopped, or once it had started moving.

An unidentified security officer at the airport told CNN affiliate Atlas she didn't see the incident, but was told that "the mother apparently put (the baby) down on the conveyer belt when she went to reach for something. He was crushed by the conveyer belt and it killed him."

Airport medical personnel rushed to the scene but were unable to revive the infant, the spokeswoman said.

The Spanish Civil Guard said the baby's death appears to be an accident, but an investigation is under way.

At a loss: Comforting grieving parents

After the baby was pronounced dead, the family had to wait for a judge to arrive, by Spanish law, so that the body could be moved. Civil Guards took statements from the parents at the airport, the airport spokeswoman said.

The baggage belt for oversized luggage -- which includes infant car seats and baby strollers -- is at one end of a large baggage claims hall at the Alicante airport, which handles 9 million passengers a year, the spokeswoman said.

The baggage carousel is in a secure area, and passengers go through it to claim their bags before they exit into the public arrivals hall. The father of the baby would not have had access to that area, the airport spokeswoman said.

Civil Guard and National Police spokesmen confirmed the nationalities of the mother and father as American and Canadian, respectively.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Madrid said that U.S. Consular officials are aware of the incident and are providing assistance.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Madrid said she could not comment and referred inquiries to the Canadian government's Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported the family had come to the Alicante area, on Spain's Mediterranean coast, for vacation, but authorities would not immediately confirm that.

When terrible things happen: Helping children heal

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT